CALLS have been made for the resurrection of a long-standing South Wales Argus campaign to reopen a rail passenger line between Newport and Ebbw Vale.

Conservative councillor Matthew Evans told a meeting of Newport City Council that the “Get Us Back On Track” campaign could help the efforts of politicians at local and national level to bring the delayed plans forward.

The campaign was launched in 2002 and drew in support from across the political spectrum. 

This week, a motion calling for the Welsh Government to act “as a matter of urgency” was unanimously backed at a full council meeting.

Cllr Evans, who submitted the motion on Tuesday, said: “The link would be stimulating for the economy. [Newport AMs] John Griffiths and Jayne Bryant have both called the link crucial.

“It’s frustrating that it’s taken an awfully long time to try and get things done. We’ve been talking about this since the last century.”

The motion was seconded by Cllr Evans’ opposite number Councillor Debbie Wilcox, with the council leader describing the issue as being “bigger than party issues”.

“People don’t want us squabbling over petty party politics,” said Cllr Wilcox.

“We need a regular service between Newport and Ebbw Vale. It would help ease congestion on the A467, which is an absolute nightmare if you live in Rogerstone.”

Cllr Wilcox also said that the issue would be raised with fellow council leaders involved in the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.

Councillor Chris Evans, of the Newport Independents, was encouraged by the cross-party consensus on the issue.

He said: “[This link] is the missing piece of the jigsaw. Newport has that historic link of being the capital of the Valleys region.

“It's time to stop with the speeches and build the link.”

Deputy leader Councillor Mark Whitcutt hoped that the Welsh Government would make changes to its South Wales Metro scheme to include the link.

“We’re a major city, third largest city in Wales and it's surely right that we’re linked to the Valleys as we once were by rail,” said Cllr Whitcutt.

“The link is all about providing south east Wales with a decent rail and public transport service.”

Speaking after the meeting, South Wales Argus editor Nicole Garnon welcomed Cllr Evans' comments, adding: “I have been looking into relaunching the campaign for some time, as it is ridiculous that nothing has been done in the 16 years since its launch.”